Thursday, September 10, 2009

Get Your Butts Off the Ground!

Smoking is a hot topic of debate for many issues, but one you may not have thought about is the litter created by cigarette filters thrown on the ground. Vol State recently started an information campaign called Stash the Ash. Posters around campus can be seen with the slogan, “Be clean and green and put your cigarette butts in the receptacles.”

There seems to be a difference of opinion on whether to dispose of the cigarette butt properly in the receptacle, or put it out on the ground. SGA President Dusty Good is a smoker and said, “Tobacco is bio-degradable. I usually take the tobacco part and throw it on the ground. I dispose of the filter properly. Those who choose to litter and throw the cigarette butts on the ground should be treated like anyone else who does this and fined.”

Aaron Fountain and Austin Wright are also smokers and say they use the ashtrays. There has been speculation that receptacles can catch fire. Adam King, age twenty has been a smoker for more than two years. “I always put my cigarette out on the concrete, and never the grass because of fires. I don’t use the ashtrays because I have seen one of those catch on fire before,” said Adam. He couldn’t remember which public place he saw this, but said that it wasn’t Vol State. “It doesn’t help that maintenance doesn’t empty the receptacles,” said Austin Wright.

Gary Hume is the senior director of plant operations here at Vol State and said that the receptacles that are in place now are steel. “The old ones were plastic, but these will not catch on fire. The receptacles are checked and emptied once a week,” said Gary. He oversees that this is done.

The environmental issues are one of the main reasons for educating smokers and non-smokers alike about the hazards that cigarette butts can have on our environment. According to Pub Med Central, “It is estimated that 1.69 billion pounds (845,000 tons) of butts wind up as litter worldwide per year. A 1997 report from the Rhode Island Department of Health reported 146 cases of cigarette butt ingestion among children."

Jacob Walker is also a smoker and said, “I think it is stupid; if you can’t walk the ten feet or whatever to put out your cigarette, then you have a problem." Jacob brings a portable ashtray with him to campus. Sean Carney, a non-smoker agrees and said that it would be nice if people would walk the extra few feet to put out the cigarette. Patrick Hanson is also a non-smoker and said, “I don’t care if people smoke, but there is no reason to flick the butt right next to the receptacle.”

Vol State has fifty three receptacles around campus designated solely for the disposal of cigarettes.

Volunteer State Community College

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